I've had many american friends complaining that they can't find good mexican food in Sydney, it is almost as difficult as looking for the holy grail. Until recently, this not-so-new mexican joint in Darlinghurst that opened last year, looks like it can be the only savior for my american friends, even they said themselves that the food is pretty close to what they have back in the States. Hence, I take their words for it and found myself having a fiasco at Mad Mex.
Mad Mex is just at the corner between Crown and Oxford Street. While we are waiting at the intersection, I can already spot a long queue inside Mad Mex from across the road. We joined in the long queue, buying time to decipher the menu. A giant mural of Lucha Libre on the wall is absolutely impressive and how I want it at home on the wall in my office. The dining area is brightly lit with the masterpiece chandelier, which is made of Corona bottles, totally shabby chic to the "Mex".
The tiny restaurant is busy, busy, busy. The dining area is already packed with customers tucking into their baja mexican tacos and burritos, while there is still a long queue waiting to order, and there are just as many employees behind the counter, working as fast as they could to take your orders. The baja mexican food is made to order, just like in Subway.
Choose your meal + choose your filling + choose your toppings = Olé!
It sounds easy, but I was actually having trouble to decide which meal, which filling and which toppings to go for!
I eventually settled on a fajita burrito with barbacao (beef) filling and topped with cheese, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, and Picante hot chilli sauce. I also ordered a Corona to go with my Burrito, but somehow the waitress won't let me take it with me to the seat. She insisted me to go and sit down and she followed right behind me with the bottle of Corona. Until now, I still can't figure out why.
I unwrapped the shiny red wrapper and took a couple of shots of the burrito inside, only soon realised I wasn't suppose to do that as it comes apart. (*amateur*) I should have first read and follow the step-by-step instructions printed on the napkins on how to eat a burrito.
There is no beef or beans mince soaked in a layer of oil, or a thick layer of hot melted cheese on top, the burrito is actually tasty and healthy. The slow roast beef with chipotle is flossy with a great spicy kick, and the tortilla is not doughy. It is almost like a kebab, but without the greasiness. I actually quite enjoyed it.
Ms Vegetarian goes for the crispy Tacos with all the fresh vegetables on the menu and a good dose of guacamole on top. The tacos must have been delicious as one is already gone when I pulled my camera out and Ms Vegetarian is about to tuck into the second tacos.
The shortman had decided on the Nachos right from the beginning since we stepped inside the restaurant. The nachos looks abundance, stacked with Carne Asada beef steaks on a bed of homemade tortilla chips, with a good dollop of sour cream, generous portions of black beans and salsa on top, you seriously can't go wrong.
At this point, Ms K and Wingman joined in the fiasco with Nachos and the 'Margo' Margaritas, and also at this point, Monkeyboy and I were already finished with our burritos and started looking at the menu on the wall again. So we were happily shared a round of Nachos, with extra Tapatío chilli sauce.
We ate, we chatted and we laughed; constant stream of customers come and go, with burritos on the go, and some sat down and shared the table with us. Then came along a cowboy, that's when I really felt I was in a little restaurant somewhere in the Mexico desert. (*insert the wild wild west music*) The lonesome cowboy took the last seat at the corner and tucked into his burrito, totally in his own world.
Mad Mex is a fantastic little mexican latin quarter in the heart of the city with great Baja style mexican food at a very reasonable price. Whoever goes there, only have one thing in mind - cheap and cheerful, fast and tasty. And always trust the yanks when comes to Mexican food. And last but not least, I think we all can do with bit of this:
Mad Mex - Darlinghurst
241 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
P: (02) 9331 7788
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 11am - 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Mad Mex - Circular Quay
AMP Plaze, 50 Bridge St, Ciruclar Quay, NSW 2010
P: (02) 9231 3663 Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am - 5pm